West Africa
Chapter 21
Physical Geography
Section 1
Landforms & Climate
• Variety of climates, but not a variety of
landforms
• Plains & Highlands
• Plains cover much of W. A...
The Niger River
• Most important in West Africa
• Starts 150 miles from Atlantic Ocean &
flows east & southward for 2,600 ...
Climate & Vegetation
• Region’s climates are zonal
• 4 Zones
• The Sahara: largest desert; northernmost
parts of region; f...
Resources
• Variety of resources
• Agricultural products, oil, and minerals
• Agriculture
• Climate of region helps with g...
Section 2
History & Culture
West Africa’s History
• Much of early history based on
archaeology & oral history (spoken
information passed down from per...
Great Kingdoms
• Artifacts suggest earliest trading towns
developed into great kingdoms
• Earliest kingdom of Ghana became...
The Slave Trade
• 1440s Portuguese explorers began sailing
along the west coast of Africa
• Europeans & Africans profited ...
Colonial Era & Independence
• 1800s many European countries competed for colonies
in West Africa
• France claimed most the...
Culture
• Culture reflects traditional African cultures,
European culture, & Islam
• People & Languages
• 100s of differen...
Religion
• Many forms exist
• Traditional Africans
• Animism: belief that bodies of water,
animals, trees, & other natural...
Clothing, Families, & Homes
• Clothing:
• Mix of traditional & modern
• Western-style; traditional robes,
skirts, blouses
...
Challenges
• Borders of West Africa ignored human
geography
• People had stronger ties to their ethnic group
than to their...
Section 3
West Africa Today
Nigeria
• 2nd largest country in W. Africa
• Africa’s largest population
• On e of the strongest economies
• People & Gov’...
Nigeria
• Economy
• Rich natural resources
• Oil accounts for 95% of export
earnings
• Good roads railroads have been
buil...
Senegal & Gambia
• Odd borders of countries created by
French & British
• Gambia
• Larger & richer
• Similarities:
• Peanu...
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape
Verde
• Guinea & Guinea-Bissau are poor
countries
• Guinea natural resource: Bauxite
• G-B...
Liberia & Sierra Leone
• Liberia
• Oldest republic
• Home to freed slaves in 1820s
• Freed slaves clashed w/ Africans
alre...
Ghana & Cote d’lvoire
• Ghana:
• Named after African kingdom
• Cote d’lvoire:
• Former French colony, name mean
“Ivory coa...
Togo & Benin
• Unstable gov’t
• Periods of military rule
• Fragile economies & violent politics
• Poor countries
• People ...
Mauritania, Niger, & Chad
• Mauritania
• Once nomadic herders
• Expand desert has moved herders into cities
• Very poor pe...
Mali & Burkina Faso
• Mali
• 40% covered by Sahara
• Among world’s poorest countries
• Some farmland along Niger River
• P...
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Chapter 21 blog notes

  1. 1. West Africa Chapter 21
  2. 2. Physical Geography Section 1
  3. 3. Landforms & Climate • Variety of climates, but not a variety of landforms • Plains & Highlands • Plains cover much of W. Africa • Coastal plain: home to cities • Interior plains: where few crops & animals are raised • Plains are vast w/ a few highland areas • SW has plateaus & cliffs • Tibesti Mt. in NE
  4. 4. The Niger River • Most important in West Africa • Starts 150 miles from Atlantic Ocean & flows east & southward for 2,600 miles • Brings life-giving water to West Africa • People farm along its banks or fish in its waters • Important transportation route • Divides into network of channels, swamps, & lakes in areas (inland delta)
  5. 5. Climate & Vegetation • Region’s climates are zonal • 4 Zones • The Sahara: largest desert; northernmost parts of region; few to no people • Steppe Climate: the Sahel (strip of land that divides the desert from wetter areas) an area of dry grasslands; rain fall varies; overgrazing by animals, cutting of trees for firewood, & winds blowing away fertile soil causing death to many people & animals • The Savanna: good soil, thick grass, & scattered tall trees; dangerous tsetse fly lives here, caused sleeping sickness & death • The Coast & Forest: many of largest cities are here, wet, humid climate; plentiful rain supports rain forests; trees have been cut to back way for expanding populations; environmental damage is a serious problem
  6. 6. Resources • Variety of resources • Agricultural products, oil, and minerals • Agriculture • Climate of region helps with growing crops • Mineral riches: diamonds, gold, iron ore, & manganese, & bauxite • Nigeria is a major exporter of oil • 95% of exports
  7. 7. Section 2 History & Culture
  8. 8. West Africa’s History • Much of early history based on archaeology & oral history (spoken information passed down from person to person through generations
  9. 9. Great Kingdoms • Artifacts suggest earliest trading towns developed into great kingdoms • Earliest kingdom of Ghana became rich and powerful by about A.D. 800 • Empire of Mali replace Ghana • Mansa Musa famous king • Used wealth from trade to support artists and scholars • Songhai kingdom replaced the Mali kingdom • Timbuktu became a cultural center • Universities, mosques, & schools • W. African trade cities faded when Sahara trade decreased • Europeans began sailing along the west coast of Africa
  10. 10. The Slave Trade • 1440s Portuguese explorers began sailing along the west coast of Africa • Europeans & Africans profited from trade with each other for awhile • 1600s the demand for labor in Europe’s American colonies changed everything • Enslaved Africans were sold to colonists • It was very profitable for traders • Slave trade devastated West African communities • Families were broken up • Many died on the voyage to America • Most who survived were sent to the West Indies or Brazil • Ended in 1800s; millions of African had been forced from their homes
  11. 11. Colonial Era & Independence • 1800s many European countries competed for colonies in West Africa • France claimed most the northwest, Britain, Germany, & Portugal seized the rest • Only tiny Liberia remained independent • Founded in 1820s by Americans as a home for free slaves; Sierra Leone (British colony) also became a home for freed slaves • Some Europeans moved to West Africa to run the colonies • They built roads, bridges, & railroads • Teachers & missionaries set up Christian churches and schools • After WWII Africans worked for independence • Most gained it during the 1950s & 1960s • Portugal gave up their colonies in 1974
  12. 12. Culture • Culture reflects traditional African cultures, European culture, & Islam • People & Languages • 100s of different ethnic groups • Some still live in traditional villages • Others mix in region’s cities • Colonial political borders separated ethnic groups • More loyal to ethnic group than country • French, English, or Portuguese are universal languages
  13. 13. Religion • Many forms exist • Traditional Africans • Animism: belief that bodies of water, animals, trees, & other natural objects have spirits • Most common • Islam & Christianity
  14. 14. Clothing, Families, & Homes • Clothing: • Mix of traditional & modern • Western-style; traditional robes, skirts, blouses • Homes: • Small and simple • In Sahel they are circular straw or mud huts • Families • Extended families live close together
  15. 15. Challenges • Borders of West Africa ignored human geography • People had stronger ties to their ethnic group than to their new country • Few people were trained to run new governments • Dictators took control in many countries • Still trouble region today • Birthrates are high in West Africa • More and more people most make a living from the small amount of fertile land • Many are moving to already crowded cities, even though jobs are few • Countries also must find ways to educate more of their people, but many families can not afford to send their children to school
  16. 16. Section 3 West Africa Today
  17. 17. Nigeria • 2nd largest country in W. Africa • Africa’s largest population • On e of the strongest economies • People & Gov’t • Many ethnic groups • Conflict has occurred (In 1960s Igbo tried to secede & bloody civil war followed) • Capital was chosen in low population density area to help avoid conflicts • Democratic gov’t today
  18. 18. Nigeria • Economy • Rich natural resources • Oil accounts for 95% of export earnings • Good roads railroads have been built • Rich in resources but most people are poor • Causes: • High birthrate (can not produce enough food for population) • History of bad gov’t (corrupt official have enriched themselves)
  19. 19. Senegal & Gambia • Odd borders of countries created by French & British • Gambia • Larger & richer • Similarities: • Peanuts are major crops • Tourism is important • Speak Wolof • Griots (story tellers) are important
  20. 20. Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde • Guinea & Guinea-Bissau are poor countries • Guinea natural resource: Bauxite • G-B: undeveloped mineral resources • Cape Verde • Volcanic islands in Atlantic • Has most stable democratic gov’t • Tourism forms main part of economy
  21. 21. Liberia & Sierra Leone • Liberia • Oldest republic • Home to freed slaves in 1820s • Freed slaves clashed w/ Africans already living there; led to civil war which ended in 2003 • Sierra Leone • Civil war from 1991-2002 • Wrecked economy, killed thousands, & forced millions from their homes • Today • Trying to rebuild • Natural resources could help build up economies • Rubber, iron ore, & diamonds
  22. 22. Ghana & Cote d’lvoire • Ghana: • Named after African kingdom • Cote d’lvoire: • Former French colony, name mean “Ivory coast” • Largest Christian church building in Africa • Rich natural resources • Gold, timber, cacao, & coffee • Economy hurt by civil war
  23. 23. Togo & Benin • Unstable gov’t • Periods of military rule • Fragile economies & violent politics • Poor countries • People depend on farming & herding • Palm products, cacao, & coffee are main crops
  24. 24. Mauritania, Niger, & Chad • Mauritania • Once nomadic herders • Expand desert has moved herders into cities • Very poor people • Farming & fishing are important • Corrupt gov’t & ethnic tensions between blacks & Arabs add to troubles • Niger • 3% of land good for farming • Farmers grow staple food crops (millet & sorghum) • Crops destroyed by locusts & drought in 2000s • Caused widespread famine; international groups supplied aid • Chad • Land for farming • Lake Chad once had healthy fishing industry & supplied water • Drought has caused evaporation • Faced civil wars in 1990s
  25. 25. Mali & Burkina Faso • Mali • 40% covered by Sahara • Among world’s poorest countries • Some farmland along Niger River • People fish or farm • Cotton & gold are main exports • Fairly stable democratic gov’t has begun economic reform • Tourism is important • Burkina Faso • Poor country • Thin soil & few minerals • Few trees remain • Jobs in cities are scarce • Men often try to find work in other countries
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